Staff

Aminisha Ferdinand, Arts Integration Instructional Coach
Elise Gallinot Goldman, Program Director
Bonnie Gabel, Arts Coach
Durrell Laurent
, Business Manager
Cheryl Manley, Program & Communications Coordinator
Heather Muntzer, Arts Coach
Echo Olander, Executive Director

Aminisha Ferdinand, Arts Integration Instructional Coach, performed in theater and film for ten years before entering the field of arts education. Following her work with KID smART as an artist-in-residence, she joined the team as an Arts Coach in 2009, most recently leading the Model Schools and Teacher | Leader Projects. She coaches teachers on integrating arts into their classrooms to fully engage children in learning, leads professional development workshops for educators and teaches a multi-disciplinary arts integrated residency at McDonogh City Park Academy. Previously, she taught drama in schools and community-based programs in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans, and Gulu, Uganda and studied briefly at the Center for the Theater of the Oppressed in Rio de Janeiro. Aminisha studied dance in New Orleans and Miami, and received her BFA in Theater Performance from the University of Miami. She has an MA in Educational Theatre from NYU.

Bonnie Gabel, Arts Coach, is a director, theater maker, and arts educator. She teaches acting, creative movement, acrobatics, digital storytelling, radio drama, puppet making, and costume design and construction to children and adults of all ages. Bonnie leads arts integration workshops for teachers on using theater techniques to reach different learning styles in the classroom. In New Orleans, Bonnie has worked many arts organizations including ArtSpot Productions, Junebug Productions, Goat in the Road, The NOLA Project, Southern Rep, and Cripple Creek Theater Company. Her original work is at the intersection of dance, theater, and visual arts and has been presented in galleries and at regional festivals. Recent projects have been supported by residencies at the Contemporary Art Center and Dancing Grounds. She is a company member of Lux et Umbra, the resident company in The Old Marquer Theater and has toured nationally and internationally with The Conciliation Project. She holds a BFA in performance and a BA in Political Science from Virginia Commonwealth University, and studied acting at the Moscow Art Theater in Russia, the DAH theater in Belgrade, Serbia, and in South Africa.

Elise Gallinot Goldman, Program Director, coordinated development of The KID smART Model, a comprehensive multi-faceted arts integration program designed around direct instruction in classrooms and professional development for classroom teachers and teaching artists. She is on faculty at Harvard Graduate School of Education's Project Zero Classroom and Arts and Passion Driven Learning institutes and has researched and trained in best practices through national models. Elise received her certification training in Montessori education and taught for four years before focusing on arts administration. She received her B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Georgia in Athens and her Masters Degree in Arts Administration from the University of New Orleans.

Durrell Laurent, Accounting Specialist, is a life-long resident of New Orleans. He graduated from Saint Augustine High School and received his B.B.A. in Finance from Texas Southern University. While in undergrad, Durrell had his first experience as a small business owner when he started Tier One Marketing, LLC, a bookkeeping company that provided other small businesses with bookkeeping services. Upon graduation, he worked with the Department of Defense where he served as a Financial Management Analyst where he managed and executed a more than $10 million budget at Naval Support Activity New Orleans. In addition to being our business manager he currently operates a financial management consulting firm Geaux Group LLC.

Cheryl Manley, Program & Communications Coordinator, manages KID smART's marketing and social media outreach while providing support to the programming team. Cheryl has worked as a marketing and digital media consultant for several local organizations including the New Orleans Swing Dance Festival, Elephant Quilt Productions, and Vintage 329. She earned bachelor's degrees in Communication Studies and Video Production from Loyola University Chicago.

Heather Muntzer, Arts Coach, facilitates arts integration workshops for teachers, coaches teaching artists, oversees educational documentation and visibility/design. Heather has been a resident teaching artist with KID smART for the past 6 years. She is practicing visual artist with a background in traditional fine art, social practice, community art and design. She is co-founder and Board Member of New Orleans’ based youth creative writing non-profit, Big Class. She holds a BFA from California College of the Arts, with a minor in Art Education. Heather received her certification in Secondary Teaching in the Arts from Mills College’s Graduate Program in Education and is entering her eleventh year working in public schools.

Echo Olander, Executive Director, has directed the vision and mission of KID smART and manages the day-to-day work of the agency since its inception. Echo served as thought partner and the lead staff for a city-wide planning process for arts education, Any Given Child, which will be launching programming in 2015-16. Previous employers include the New York State Council on the Arts, the Arts Council of New Orleans, and contractually for Mississippi Arts Commission/Whole Schools Program, and the Louisiana Division of the Arts. She was named to the Louisiana team for the NEA Education Leadership Institute, has coordinated the review of Louisiana Curriculum guides for the Louisiana Department of Education and the Louisiana Division of the Arts and coordinated Imagination, Creativity and Innovation, a statewide program on arts integration in Louisiana for four years. She has served as a panelist for the National Guild for Community Arts Education, Louisiana Division of the Arts, the Mississippi Arts Commission and Arts Council of New Orleans has presented workshops in a number of locations nationally. Echo has a BA in English from Newcomb College/Tulane University.